Education, City Leaders Join Forces On Vision Tax To Benefit Teachers

Thursday, March 24th 2016, 5:57 pm
By: Tess Maune

Tulsa is putting its vision toward education.

Voters decide April 5 whether to approve the Vision Tulsa sales tax extension.

Part of the plan would put $10 million dollars to recruiting and keeping teachers in Tulsa.    

Tulsa city leaders and Tulsa educators are joining forces with a vision to make schools stronger.

“They're the core of a neighborhood,” Tulsa City Councilor Anna America said.

America says $10 million of the Vision Tulsa tax package would go toward getting teachers to Tulsa and keeping them here.

“It's a way we can all get together and help support our schools and strengthen them when they really need us,” America said.

It's no secret Oklahoma teachers are underpaid.

And with more budget cuts expected to state education, Tulsa Public Schools superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist says districts have to be creative in recruiting and retaining teachers.

“In the meantime, there are some things we could do here locally to be able to support our teachers and allow them to have a better quality of life,” Dr. Deborah Gist said.

There are two parts to the plan.

One would help teachers find affordable housing.

Gist says TPS is working with the city looking at different options and properties to make it work.    

“A place for them... a facility... where we can allow them to be able to find rental properties that would be below market rate,” Gist said.

Part two would give teachers stipends so they could continue to develop their curriculum tools for the classroom.

America says few cities have done anything like this with schools. She says if it passes, Tulsa would be the only in the state -- hopefully giving the city a competitive edge.